Angie had just been through a tragedy in her family. Her cousin, only 20-years-old, had died. “Her family talked about how she felt her life was perfect and she was so happy,” Angie recalled. It prompted the 23-year-old to reflect on whether she felt that way about her own life. “My answer was no,” she concluded. She wanted someone in her life and that meant changes were necessary.
One problem was that there wasn’t a lot of hope for finding dating prospects. Angie lived in a small town in central Florida, whose population was mostly retirees. Yet, she was also not entirely comfortable with the idea of online dating. “I can be kind of shy and I usually avoid situations that require me to talk to lots of strangers,” she said. “Online dating would be the opposite of my comfort zone.”
Drew was 27-years-old, and the Dallas-area resident was getting ready to move to Miami. His twin sister had already married a man that she met on CatholicMatch. Drew took her advice to join, and decided to start searching in Florida in advance of his arrival. He set his search parameters–within 500 miles of Miami.
Angie’s profile came up and as Drew looked it over with his sister, he was in love. His sister was no less impressed–“If you don’t marry her, I’ll kill you,” she joked to him. Drew reviewed her profile thoroughly, a fact that would later impress Angie. She recalled that while other messages she got asked her questions that had already been answered in the profile, Drew’s was different–it was apparent he had taken the time to read what she had already written.
Drew was also interested in Angie’s faith life, asking her about the Catholic community in her hometown. “Drew’s first message wasn’t an attempt to hit on me,” she said. “He truly cared about his Catholic faith.”
Angie felt like she was getting some help from above in this whole process. The first few days after creating her profile she felt a little overwhelmed and exhausted, so she turned to her departed grandfather and asked him to watch over her. “God must have heard those intercessions,” she said. “Drew is so much like Grandpa it is uncanny.”
After six weeks of online communication, Drew made the four-hour drive to come and see Angie in person. They went out to lunch on a Saturday afternoon and to dinner that evening. On Sunday, they went to Mass and then drove to Tampa, where he met her family. On that first date, both already felt strongly that marriage would be in their future.
Drew and Angie made the challenges of long-distance dating easier by regular video chats. Every morning, Drew sent her an email to ask questions, a mix of fun and thought-provoking, all to stimulate conversation and help them get to know each other better. They used the video chats creatively, to watch movies together, play Scrabble, and even cook the same meals. And to keep God at the center of it all, thy said the Divine Mercy chaplet together every evening.
On the one-year anniversary of when Drew sent his first message to Angie, they planned a day together. It began with a lakeside sunrise breakfast. Lunch was at the same venue where they had gone on their first face-to-face date. They spent a Holy Hour in Adoration together, and then went to dinner at a French restaurant.
Later, they went to the lake where Angie had posed for the profile picture she used on CatholicMatch. Drew gave her a book. It was full of all those morning emails had sent to her with questions. This book had an addition. The last page asked the question “Will you marry me?”
Angie enthusiastically said “Yeah.” Drew would point out later–and has continued to teasingly point out to her–that her response wasn’t the usual “Yes.” But her casual response didn’t stop them from being married 16 months later.
A month after their marriage, Drew and Angie moved back to Texas. It concluded an improbable journey that began when they were still 1500 miles apart, and ended up back in the Dallas area. “It all feels like a dream sometimes,” Angie said. “We believe that God obviously wanted us to be together and he used the circumstances in our respective lives to help us realize that. It was so worth letting go and getting out of my comfort zone.”
Drew and Angie have celebrated their one-year anniversary, and have bought a house. They hope children will be in the near future. And when they walked into their new parish church for the first time, the image of Divine Mercy was above the altar–a clear sign welcoming them to their new home.